[b-hebrew] Jeremiah 1:5

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Wed Oct 21 13:34:36 EDT 2009

2009/10/21 Joseph Justiss <jljustiss at msn.com>

> I have a question about the Yiqtol verb in Jeremiah 1:5.
> 1. Am I correct to expect a Qatal form of יצר instead of a Yiqtol after the
> temporal adverbial prepositional phrase בטרם in verse 5?


> 2. Is the sense of the verse some kind of modal use of Yiqtol: "Before I
> could form you in the womb I knew you."? Or are these even the right kind of
> questions to be asking?
> These are the right type of questions to be asking. I am asking them

Now the reason for the “No” above.

After years of reading Tanakh and seeing that Qatal and Yiqtol fit neither
temporal (tense) nor aspectual meanings, it appears to me that the following
may be the case:

Qatal—primary (in a multi-verb sentence), starting, sure, fixed

Yiqtol—secondary (in a multi-verb sentence), continuing, optitive or
subjunctive, imperative, possible.

A primary or starting verb can be Yiqtol if optitive or subjunctive,
imperative or dealing with what is possible, there we look at the context.

This verse seems to back up my thoughts. What God emphasized in this verse
is that he knew and caused Jeremiah to be set apart as a prophet, even
before his birth, hence the Qatal form for the “know” and “set apart”,
whereas the secondary idea is in Yiqtol.

> Just wanted to get your thoughts.
> Joe Justiss
> Karl W. Randolph.

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